The Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) has taken a serious note of the resurgence of a campaign by the critics of pentavalent vaccines to allegedly spread misinformation. A statement issued stated that the IAP denounced the attempts to distort facts and create confusion regarding the safety of the vaccine.
IAP has assured that the available pentavalent vaccine ((DTwP-HepB-Hib) formulation in the country was safe. The academy endorses and also commends the governments decision to introduce the vaccine in six states of the country. It was introduced in Tamil Nadu and Kerala in December 2011,and later in Haryana,Puducherry,Goa,Gujarat,and Jammu and Kashmir in August 2012.
Deaths were reported from Sri Lanka,Bhutan,India,and Vietnam,allegedly after the vaccine was administered. However,investigations by local governments and WHO have demonstrated no causal link between pentavalent vaccination and the reported infant deaths. In Sri Lanka and Bhutan,where vaccine was suspended due to reports of infant deaths,the programme has been reinstated following the investigations.
The investigation reports and expert reviews by WHOs Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety is quite reassuring,although the causalities could not be ascertained completely in all the cases due to non-availability of complete information.
Like all injectable vaccines,some adverse reactions do occur with pentavalent vaccines. The common reactions are fever,swelling and redness at the spot where it has been administered.
IAP maintains that the vaccine provides several health benefits related to the ability to protect against five major health problems in a go. This vaccine has been given to millions of children in more than 180 countries and its safety profile has been well documented in India and elsewhere through clinical studies.